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Could Allen Alley Unseat Governor Kate Brown?

Friday, October 23, 2015


Allen Alley; via wikimedia commons

Weeks after candidates were first allowed to file to run for Governor of Oregon in a special election next year, no true contenders have stepped up to run against sitting Governor Kate Brown. That may change soon, however, as Allen Alley, a candidate in the 2010 Republican Gubernatorial Primary, told GoLocal he is hoping to run against Brown.

“I would like to run,” Alley said when asked if he was considering a bid for the State House. “I’m considering doing it. Right now, I have a few business investments I need to take care of first. I have about 10 or 11 companies I’ve invested in and I want to make sure they’re headed in the right direction.”

Alley said he has been traveling often in the past weeks in order to ensure that his companies are prepared for the possibility of his campaign. Alley said he wants to take a run at the State’s highest office because he believes he can fix some of the problems plaguing Oregon.

“I laugh a little bit, because I think it should be obvious,” Alley said when asked what improvements he could make as governor. “If you look at the economic condition of the state and the lack of performance in our schools, there’s a lot that can be done.”

Could He Win?

If Alley was to enter the race and amass enough support to take over the Governor’s Office, it would be a history making day in Oregon. Alley would be the first Republican Governor of Oregon in nearly three decades. It’s a big challenge, according to Jim Moore, Director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation at Pacific University.

“He has a chance, but it will be very difficult,” Moore told GoLocal. “A strong Republican can get to 45% of the vote, a mediocre Democrat can get to 50% of the vote. Alley will have to convince that crucial 5% of the voters to go for him over Brown. And virtually all of those voters will have to come from the Portland metropolitan area.”

Moore said that Alley would stand a better chance against Brown than other incumbents, as she has yet to win an election to the Oregon’s governor. She assumed the office earlier this year after former Governor John Kitzhaber resigned following a scandal.

“She has a record to run on, but it is mainly based on Kitzhaber’s policies, so that can be used in the race against her,” Moore said. “Brown has the advantages of the incumbency, but because of the high-profile nature of the office, people will remember that she was not elected to the post.”

Gov. Kate Brown

How He Could Pull It Off

It may be a difficult challenge to win back the Governor’s mansion for the Republicans, but Alley believes he is up to the task. He said he has the experience and background to lead the state, and learned from his defeats in the 2008 race to be State Treasurer and the 2010 campaign for Governor.

“I learned a lot about running a campaign, and about communicating with people. Before 2008, I had never been involved with politics” Alley said. “I think I have a background where I could be successful. I worked in the Governor’s Office for about a year under Ted Kulongoski, and I saw what the governor does. I think I could be very productive.”

Moore said that in order for Alley, or any Republican, to win a race for governor, they would need plenty of luck.

“First, it would take a strong candidate, and Alley is much stronger than Bud Pierce,” Moore said. “Second, some crisis in governance among the Democrats. The closest we got was the Kitzhaber meltdown in 2014, and that was not enough for a Republican win. But Dennis Richardson was not a strong candidate. Third, wait for the demographics to change. Since the demographics have been favorable for the Democrats, and getting more so, for the past 15-20 years for statewide offices, this will have no bearing on the 2016 elections.”


Related Slideshow: Timeline of Kate Brown’s Life and Political Career

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Brown was born on June 21, 1960 in Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain where her father was serving in the U.S. Air Force, but she grew up mostly in Minnesota. 

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Brown graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Environmental Conservation. She then went on to earn a degree in environmental law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College. 

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Law Career

Before Brown began her legislative career, she worked at Portland State University and worked as an attorney with the Juvenile Rights Project, a non profit in Portland that provides legal services to children and families. 

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House of Reps

Brown began her legislative career in 1991 in the Oregon House of Representatives where she served two terms. 

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Kate Brown was elected to the Oregon Senate in 1996 and two years later was elected Senate Democratic Leader. 

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Senate Majority Leader

In 2004 Kate Brown became the first woman to serve as Oregon's Senate Majority Leader. Brown served until July 2007 when she announced that she would give up her seat in the Oregon Senate to run for Secretary of State. 

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Secretary of State.

On May 20, 2008, Brown won the election for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State and on November 5 she won the general election by a 51-46 percent margin against Republican candidate Rick Dancer.

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Rising Star

In 2009 the Aspen Institute named Brown as one of 24 "Rising Stars" in American politics and awarded her with a Rodel Fellowship

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Personal Life

Brown lives in Portland with her husband Dan Little who she has been married to for almost 20 years and is also a stepmother to  two children. She identifies as bisexual and was America's first openly bisexual statewide officeholder. 

Photo: Brown kissing Storm Large at Basic Rights Oregon's 27th annual Dinner Auction in 2009. Photo by Byron Beck.

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Cut D.C. Trip Short

On Wednesday, Feb. 11 2015 Brown left is the national conference for the Association of Secretaries of State in Washington D.C. two days early.

The 2015 Winter Conference runs from February 10-13, 2015, and draws top state officials from around the country.

Brown's spokesperson, Tony Green, confirmed she is on her way back to Oregon, and that her return is ahead of schedule. 

According to multiple sources at the highest level of State Government, her return is tied to a potential resignation by the embattled Governor John Kitzhaber.

Photo: Kate Brown with Peter Johnson (left) and George Vranas (right).

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Governor of Oregon

Governor John Kitzhaber released a statement Friday, Feb. 13 announcing his resignation.

Kate Brown will now serve as the Governor until the next general biennial election. A new governor can be elected in 2016. 

Kate Brown will be the second female Governor of Oregon. 

Photo Credit: Kate Brown with Dianne Lin by Byron Beck


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